Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#617 - Ted Ford

Just because this seems to be the theme lately we get another final baseball card in a rarity in this set of a Cleveland player at home. Ted Ford had completed round three of what was a back and forth career between the Tribe and the Rangers when this photo was taken. Unless this shot is from an earlier season – and I don’t think it is – Topps got lucky because Ted played precious few games up top in ’73. He’d begun the season hitting at a stellar clip for the Texas Triple A team in Spokane when he was sent to Cleveland with pitcher Dick Bosman for pitcher Steve Dunning in May. He continued his fine hitting at that level before a September call-up got him to Cleveland where he got a few starts in center and right field. Those would be Ted’s final at bats up top.

Ted Ford came out of Vineland, NJ, in the southern part of the state where he played football and baseball and was drafted by Cleveland as a first rounder in ’66. He was a speedy outfielder with a big arm who could hit and he spent his first summer in A ball before slowing down a bunch the following year in Double A. Then Ted got drafted again – this time by the Army – and did a military hitch that lasted the better part of two years. According to some sources he served time in Viet Nam though I have been unable to confirm that. He got back in ’69 in time to play some Instructional League ball and had such a good spring the following year that he made Cleveland’s opening day roster. After not hitting too great he went down to Triple A where he stung the ball at a pretty good clip that year and half of the next before a return to the Indians that summer. He had a couple nice moments but couldn’t get his average up to its minor league levels and after that season he went to Texas for former outfield mate Roy Foster and Tommy McCraw. After a short stay in Triple A Ted moved up to Arlington and led the team in homers as its starting right fielder. He also led the AL in assists from his position even though he only played about three-quarters of a season. By early ’73 he was back in Cleveland.

In ’74 Ford spent a few games in Triple A pounding the ball for the Tribe when he was traded to – guess where? – Texas for pitcher Charlie Hudson. He finished out the season at that level as a loaner to San Diego’s PCL franchise with another nice stat line of .311/17/72 with a .415 OBA. Then it was off to Mexico where he played ball the next eight seasons, most of that time for Mexico City. Ted was done following the ’82 season as a player and finished with the MLB line on the back of this card and hit .289 with 57 homers and a .355 OBA in the minors.

Ford would permanently relocate to Texas during his Mexican League time according to some articles about his grandson Darren who has put in some recent time with the Giants. Ted and Darren have not had much contact so that is a limited source of information but there has been a Ted Ford baseball school operating in McAllen for a number of years so it’s not a stretch to think it’s the same guy.

Ted gets some fielding props and nearly his whole career in The States on the back of his card. Apart from bowling he also had a band back in Vineland during the ’73 off-season. I wonder if he ever opened for Bruce?

At this point in the recap almost all Watergate news was coming via Grand Jury leaks:

4/19/73 – It was reported on this date that Jeb Stuart Magruder, a finance guy on the CREEP team, was ready to give evidence that he had helped John Dean and John Mitchell plan the Watergate bugging and that Dean and Mitchell were the ones who paid off the defendants to keep quiet. Also on this date Attorney General Richard Kleindienst removed himself from the “operative” investigation into the Watergate affair due to his “close personal and professional relationship” with some of the investigation’s targets.

4/20/73 – John Mitchell begins testifying before the Grand Jury. He indicated during his testimony that he had attended three meetings in early ’72 – the first during which he was still Attorney General – in which bugging was discussed but that he had refused to approve the activation of those plans. It was also around this time that White House attorney John Dean began to crack. Dean was worried about becoming a scapegoat for the Watergate affair and there were indications he would be giving up H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s Chief of Staff, and John Erlichman, Nixon’s Chief Domestic Affairs Adviser.

4/21/73 – it is reported that the Grand Jury is now concentrating on H. R. Haldeman’s involvement in Watergate. He and John Erlichman hire a lawyer.

Meanwhile we need to hook up an Indian and a Cub:

1. Ford and Jim Mason – coming right up – ’72 Rangers;
2. Mason and Larry Gura ’74 to ’75 Yankees.

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